2020 Aftermath NFL Mock Draft


Welcome to the annual 2020 Aftermath NFL mock draft. For the fifth year in a row, Jack Venezia, Brian Mandel and Matt Luppino joined me to run through the first round of the draft. This is always one of my favorite exercises of the year. We each take control of eight picks and then make our selections. I think this is always really interesting because we each have our own player preferences. For example, there are players that went in the first round here that I don’t have ranked on my top 100 big board. Multiple perspectives make it a bit more similar to the actual draft where different teams will have varying opinions on prospects.

For the first time though, we decided to allow some trades. There were definitely some group discussions because different people had picks for the same team. Overall though, it was a fun wrinkle to throw into the mix. These are the trades that went down. (I consulted Draft Tek’s trade value chart just to be sure these were fair.)

Miami sends 1.5, 1.26 and 2021 fourth rounder to Detroit for 1.3
Minnesota sends 1.22, 3.89 and 3.105 to Atlanta for 1.16 and 2021 5th rounder
New York sends 2.48 and 3.79 to San Francisco for 1.31
Los Angeles sends 2.37 and 4.112 to Kansas City for 1.32

Here is the result of year five of this mock draft.

Bengals Logo1. Cincinnati Bengals – Joe Burrow, QB, LSU
I don’t think this one needs much explanation … next! – ML

Washington made up logo2. Washington – Chase Young, EDGE, Ohio State
There’s a reason everyone is making this pick: Chase Young had 16.5 sacks last season with Ohio State last year, is one of the best, if not the best, talent in this year’s draft, and he grew up in the literal same town where Washington’s home stadium resides (Hyattsville, Maryland). You’d be crazy not to make this pick. – JV

Dolphins logo3. Miami Dolphins via Detroit Lions – Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama
If I’m Miami, I am keeping my finger firmly on the pulse of trade offers for the Lions’ and Giants’ picks, and pouncing if need be. Giving up one of their three first round picks is a small price to pay to guarantee your quarterback of the future. If Tua really is healthy, he has both a higher floor AND ceiling than Herbert. Easy trade for me. – ML

Giants Logo4. New York Giants – Jedrick Wills, OT, Alabama
It was really tempting to grab Isaiah Simmons here. The Giants defense could undoubtedly use an injection of playmaking ability. However, when you spend a top-10 pick on a quarterback, you have to invest in keeping him upright. Wills is the best pass blocker of the top four tackles and has tons of experience playing in the SEC. I think he will transition well and can start at either tackle spot. – CM

Lions Logo5. Detroit Lions via Miami Dolphins – Jeffrey Okudah, CB, Ohio State
Once Chase Young, unsurprisingly, did not fall to the third pick, trading back two picks to gain an extra first was the most sensible option. I, like most of the football world, think that Okudah is the best pick for the Lions outside of Young, and I knew that I would still be able draft him with the 5th pick. Even before their offseason trade of Darius Slay, the Lions were in great need of a cornerback.  Okudah has all of the tools to become one of the next great shutdown corners in the NFL. Importantly, he churns out big plays without gamboling too much. I predict that Okudah will immediately impact a rebuilding Lions’ defense. – BM

Chargers logo6. Los Angeles Chargers – Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon
Phillip Rivers is gone and the Chargers have Tyrod Taylor for now. I don’t hate Taylor, but he is a temporary solution at best. I think the Chargers either trade up or take whatever quarterback available at the sixth pick. In this draft, Herbert was still available, so I took him. – JV

Panthers logo7. Carolina Panthers – Isaiah Simmons, LB/S, Clemson
I was shocked to see Simmons still on the board when it was my pick as the Panthers’ general manager. When pundits talk about the type of player that is needed on defense for a modern NFL team, Simmons is the player that they are describing. He has the versatility to be able to stop the run, seamlessly transition to coverage, and blitz. Carolina is in need of a difference maker in multiple areas of their defense. The team will be able to feel good knowing that they are walking away from this draft with a building block. – BM

Arizona_Cardnals_logo_(1994-2004)8. Arizona Cardinals – Javon Kinlaw, DL, South Carolina
I’ve got to be honest, I have no idea what the Cardinals will do on draft day. They feel like a likely candidate to move down. Offensive line is possible as well, but they just locked up D.J. Humphries. I didn’t get a good enough offer to justify passing on Kinlaw. He has enormous potential and a decent track record as a pass rusher. If you are going to invest a top-10 pick in a defensive lineman, he better be able to get after the quarterback. – CM

Jaguars logo9. Jacksonville Jaguars – Derrick Brown, DL, Auburn
To say that the Jags defense has regressed since their last playoff appearance is an understatement. There are lots of holes to plug, but the one that sticks out most here along the defensive line for a team that gave up over five yards per carry last year. The best run stopper in the draft easily fits that need, with another first round pick to come. – ML

Browns logo10. Cleveland Browns – Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia
This has to be the most offensive line talent an NFL draft has had in years, and so many teams are desperate for quarterback protection. The Browns had mediocre pass protection and an inconsistent running game last year. Taking one of these lineman will fix that. Thomas also provides flexibility as he can play either tackle position and might just be the most pro-ready of the bunch. – JV

Jets logo11. New York Jets – Mekhi Becton, OT, Louisville
This was a tougher pick because there were still a lot of incredible receivers on the board, and the first tier of tackles was quickly disappearing. I decided that drafting an offensive tackle that has the opportunity to protect Sam Darnold for the foreseeable future should be given preference over a possible number one wideout, even if it is still a big need for the Jets. It would be hard for Darnold to continue his development if he still has no pass protection, and Becton should make Le’Veon Bell’s job a little easier too. Becton has the highest ceiling of any offensive tackle in this draft. However, he is extremely raw, and the Jets have their work cut out for them to develop a player with such immense physical gifts. – BM

Raiders logo12. Las Vegas Raiders – Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama
Mike Mayock did a nice job restocking his front seven in last year’s draft. I think he is going to focus on retooling the receiving corps and secondary this year. Jeudy is the top remaining player on my draft board and fills a huge need. While there are tons of good receivers in this class, I think Jeudy is a cut above the rest and should have a major impact on the offense right away. – CM

49ers Logo13. San Francisco 49ers – Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa
After letting Emmanuel Sanders go, and seeing both CeeDee Lamb and Henry Ruggs still available, this could very easily be a wide receiver here. But remember, this is a very deep receiver draft, and the Niners have another pick at 31 – so why pass up a chance at one of the four best tackles in the draft? Wirfs could be the left tackle of the future in San Francisco. Remember, Joe Staley is 35 and the only person who is undefeated against Father Time so far is Tom Brady. – ML

Buccaneers logo14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Josh Jones, OT, Houston
The Tom Brady Buccaneers need to protect their newly acquired 74-year-old (give or take 30 years) quarterback because who knows how many more sacks that septuagenarian can take before his bones become silly puddy. Josh Jones definitely isn’t their Prom Queen, but he was the best lineman available at the 14th pick. Don’t be shocked if they trade up, just to be safe. – JV

Denver_Broncos15. Denver Broncos – CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma
Courtland Sutton is a great young receiver, but the position is still a major need for the Broncos coming into this draft. Fortunately, there is still a nice selection of prospects on the board. Although Henry Ruggs is physically more talented than CeeDee Lamb (you cannot teach speed as they say), I drafted the latter. It is not like Lamb does not have all of the physical tools be a number one option. He also has a knack for finding soft spots in coverage. A knock against him might be that the offensive environment of the Big 12 makes it hard to truly evaluate him. Overall, Lamb will come into the league as a complete wide receiver and will be a good injection of talent into the Broncos’ offense. – BM

Vikings logo16. Minnesota Vikings via Atlanta Falcons – Henry Ruggs, WR, Alabama
The Falcons were looking for a trade partner and with multiple late first round picks, the Vikings were willing to jump up. After Stefon Diggs left Minnesota, the Vikings grabbed Tajae Sharpe, but will likely still be looking for a top receiver. As there was a run on wide receivers, Minnesota pounced. Ruggs and Diggs have very different skill sets, but Ruggs should add a new element to the offense with tons of potential. – JV

Cowboys logo17. Dallas Cowboys – K’Lavon Chaisson, EDGE, LSU
The Cowboys could head in a few different directions with this pick. After Byron Jones signed that monster deal with Miami, cornerback became a glaring hole on the Dallas defense. There are plenty of solid options to patch that on day two. One position that is lacking depth in this draft, however, is edge rusher. So the Cowboys do not let one of the best of the bunch get past. – ML

Dolphins logo18. Miami Dolphins – Xavier McKinney, S, Alabama
At this point, the Dolphins already got their quarterback early and traded away the 26th pick to do so. Plus, all of the top offensive lineman are off the board. Therefore, the Dolphins decided to give their flimsy secondary a rock in Xavier McKinney, the best safety in this year’s draft. He, Byron Jones and Xavien Howard would make a talented, young trio for Miami to lean on. – JV

Raiders logo19. Las Vegas Raiders – CJ Henderson, CB, Florida
With their first pick in this draft, the Raiders drafted a great receiver for the starting quarterback of their team this year (I do not know if it will still Carr by the end of the year). Now they are able to select a player that helps alleviate their need for talent in the secondary. After Okudah, Henderson is the most complete corner in this draft, and is incredible in coverage. He might have issues with defending against the run at the professional level, and he also had a bit of down year this year after an electric 2018 season. Still, Henderson has the ability to be the number one cornerback that the Raiders are in dire need of. – BM

Jaguars logo20. Jacksonville Jaguars – Patrick Queen, LB, LSU
Matt opted for a defensive lineman with their first pick. I think adding a speedy linebacker with good coverage skills would be a nice way to continue rebuilding this defense. Speed on defense is an invaluable trait. Queen definitely rode LSU’s championship wave into first round consideration, but I think he will continue to develop a lot at the next level. – CM

Eagles Logo21. Philadelphia Eagles – Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU
Patrick Queen would’ve been the only player I considered over a wideout here, so the question becomes which one? Plenty of options make sense for the Eagles, who had 40-year-old backup quarterback Josh McCown on the depth chart for receiver at one point last season, but I like the total package of Jefferson here. He has experience both in the slot and outside. – ML

Falcons logo22. Atlanta Falcons via Minnesota Vikings – Bryce Hall, CB, Virginia
The Falcons slide back a few picks and land a corner that fits their system. Hall is not as highly touted as some of his peers because he went to Virginia and missed the second half of his senior year with an ankle injury. Before he got hurt though, he might have been the best corner in the ACC. He has the size, speed and ball skills to become a top-end starter. – CM

Patriots Logo23. New England Patriots – Kenneth Murray, LB, Oklahoma
The Patriots defense was incredible this year, but they lost some key contributors in free agency. Drafting Murray will be an important part in retooling the unit before the 2020 season. Murray is an explosive playmaker that is great at defending the run and getting to the quarterback. There are question marks about his coverage skill, however, and that is mostly because scouts have not seen him in coverage situations very often. He has the athleticism to develop them. Another trait of note, Murray is also known to miss tackles sometimes due to decision making. Ultimately, the Patriots will know how to use him effectively and I trust their player development personnel to develop him. – BM

Saints logo24. New Orleans Saints – Jordan Love, QB, Utah State
I went back and forth on this for a long time. While the Saints putting a first-round tenure on Taysom Hill in restricted free agency would indicate they believe in him as a future starter, I don’t. I think Love has the physical tools to succeed, provided he is given the right coaching. Sean Payton has shown he get the best out of quarterbacks with both Drew Brees and Teddy Bridgewater. I think this is a perfect fit for Love to develop for a year or two before taking over the starting role. – CM

Vikings logo25. Minnesota Vikings – Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU
With the Vikings getting their Stefon Diggs replacement in Ruggs earlier, they use this pick to replace their now bare cupboard of corners. Fulton has the size, speed, and pedigree combo that I don’t think others match here – but I am not biased to the national champs, even if four of my seven picks have been Tigers. – ML (Editor’s note: He was totally bias.)

Lions Logo

26. Detroit Lions via Miami Dolphins – Ezra Cleveland, OT, Boise State
With the pick the Lions received from trading with the Dolphins, I thought that shoring up the offensive line would be best course of action. I know I might be raising some eyebrows by drafting Cleveland so much earlier than he is projected to go, but I think if he is developed correctly, he can be a good tackle in the NFL for a long time. He is a steady blocker in pass protection, and has lots of physical gifts (a theme of mine in the draft this year). If the Lions want to continue with Matt Stafford at quarterback, then they have to make sure he is protected correctly. – BM

Seahawks logo27. Seattle Seahawks – A.J. Epenesa, DL, Iowa
The Seahawks have a clear hole along the defensive line whether or not Jadeveon Clowney is back on the team next season. Epenesa does not have the typical build or peripherals of an edge rusher, but I think he can be just as effective. His effectiveness comes from his incredible strength, which will probably see him playing more on the interior. In the end, what’s important for him is whether or not he can pressure the quarterback at the NFL level. I think Epenesa will do just that, just not in the prototypical way. – BM

Ravens logo28. Baltimore Ravens – Zach Baun, LB, Wisconsin
This Ravens linebacking corps has been depleted in recent years. C.J. Mosley, Patrick Onwausor and Terrell Suggs are all gone. Matt Judon is on the franchise tag. Baun gives Baltimore a potential starter right out of the gate with some versatility to rush the passer and play as an off-ball backer. That versatility is valuable and Wisconsin has a history of sending tough, gritty football players to the NFL. That fits really well with how the Ravens do things. – CM

Titans logo29. Tennessee Titans – Yetur Gross-Matos, EDGE, Penn State
Like I have previously mentioned, this is a weaker draft for edge rushers, but Gross-Matos is the best left available before a fairly steep drop-off. Mike Vrabel sees a wonderful interchangeable piece with the newly signed Vic Beasley, Jr., and the consistent Harold Landry off the edge – a strong edge rush rotation. – ML

Packers logo30. Green Bay Packers – Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson
With a deep receiver class, the Packers won’t have to move up in order to find Davante Adams’ partner in crime. Higgins is one of the most naturally gifted receivers in this class, but he needs to be coached up. Green Bay would be the perfect landing spot for him with Rodgers throwing him the ball and the aforementioned Adams showing him the ropes. – JV

Jets logo31. New York Jets via San Francisco 49ers – Denzel Mims, WR, Baylor
The Jets will still be coming away from this draft with a new target for Darnold to throw to. New York trades back into the first round to nab a projectable, but still slightly raw, wide receiver.  Currently, their receiver group is full of possession receivers with varying degrees of talent (I am actually a big fan of Jamison Crowder). Mims is a big play option and adds a new dimension to the unit. Darnold will have a receiver that he can trust will come down with a jump ball even if Mims will have to work on his route running. – BM

Chargers logo32. Los Angeles Chargers via Kansas City Chiefs – Austin Jackson, OT, USC
With the final pick of the first round, the Chiefs move back a few spots to add to their five total draft picks. Picking up a fourth rounder is worth it here. For the Chargers, who already grabbed a potential franchise quarterback, grabbing a tackle to protect him. Jackson is definitely a bit raw, but he has the physical tools to become a great left tackle. He showed flashes of that during an uneven season at USC. Los Angeles can keep him local and build a solid offense line in front of Herbert. – CM

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